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Observatory Training - Class Prerequisites

Prerequisite requirements for students taking observatory training
  • Must be at least 16 years of age or older.
  • Must be a Society member in good standing with all dues paid.
  • Have full knowledge of all general site rules and have completed the general site orientation.
  • Must have been a Society member for at least 6 months.
  • Must have knowledge of basic telescope functionality and procedures and have a working understanding of equatorially mounted astronomical telescopes. It is a

By: Steve Goldberg

Asterism: a grouping of stars that form a recognizable pattern.

Constellation: Taurus
Right Ascension: 03h 47m 00.0s
Declination: +24° 07' 00"
Magnitude: 5 to 8


This month’s asterism, Ally’s Braid, is embedded in the middle of the well-known group of stars called The Pleiades, M45, or the Seven Sisters. The Pleiades are located in the constellation Taurus and can be easily located after finding the “point of the bull” triangle of stars (seen here in the lower left).  The star Aldebaran is the “eye of the bull”.  The Peiades is a naked eye object under most skies.

The “braid” starts at the bright star Alcyone η in the center of the cluster. From Alcyone going towards the upper left there are 3 bright stars, a slight change in direction and 4 more stars. The last star is a bright 5th magnitude.  These make up the “braid”.


This was named by Stephen Saber and the name “Ally’s Braid” comes from the main star, Alcyone.

by Rene Gedaly


By all accounts, 2018 was a miserable time to be an observer in Houston. As happened too often, another observatory training class was cancelled, this one the November 10th women’s class.

What to do for 2019? The observatory training team believes it has come up with the solution: 1st come, 1st serve classes. Here’s how it works.

Starting March 2019, we will open class to all women during the first good-weather Saturday. The call will go out, and the first six women who respond get added to the class. Subsequent regular training classes will also run this way. 

As serious observers, that’s how we already operate. When good weather is forecast, we boogie to the dark site—scores of us will be on the field or in private observatories. And Observatory Director Chris Ober and Trainers will be there for you, too. 

Class prerequisites apply. See